The US Senate on Monday passed an omnibus competitiveness bill that includes provisions to enhance military, cultural and diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but obstacles remain in having the bill enacted into law.
The Senate approved the America COMPETES Act by a 68-28 margin after the House of Representatives passed an act of the same name by a 222-210 vote on Feb. 4.
However, the bill approved by the Senate replaced the original content of the America COMPETES Act with that of the US Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which the senate passed on June 8 last year.
Photo: Reuters
Both bills are aimed at increasing the competitiveness of the US — in particular against China — with a significant emphasis on boosting scientific and engineering innovation, research and development, and production of advanced electronic components in the US.
There was considerable overlap between the USICA and the original contents of the America COMPETES Act, including on regional strategies to counter China.
However, substantive differences also exist in several areas, including economic diplomacy, strategic and diplomatic matters, and multilateral strategies to bolster US power.
The House is not expected to agree to the latest version approved by the Senate, meaning that the two bodies will have to negotiate a reconciliation of the bills they passed into a final version that can get 60 votes in the Senate and pass a divided House.
With respect to Taiwan, both bills generally reiterate US support for Taiwan, recognizing Taiwan as a “vital part” of the US’ Indo-Pacific strategy and a vital national security interest of the US.
They require the US to reinforce its commitments to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act and the “six assurances,” and conduct regular transfers of “defense articles” to enhance Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities, in particular its efforts to develop and integrate asymmetric capabilities.
They both call on the US secretary of state to consider establishing a US-Taiwan cultural exchange foundation “dedicated to deepening ties between the future leaders of Taiwan and the United States,” and contain lengthy provisions on a Taiwan fellowship program to allow government officials to go to Taiwan for two years to learn Chinese.
However, there are key differences.
The House-backed bill calls for negotiations on renaming Taiwan’s representative office in the US — the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office — while the Senate version does not.
It also includes a Taiwan Peace and Stability Act, which focuses specifically on enhancing deterrence measures in the Taiwan Strait, and a Taiwan International Solidarity Act that are not found in the Senate bill.
The Senate bill does call for ending the practice of referring to Taiwan’s government as the “Taiwan authorities” and for ending restrictions on officials of the two sides to interact directly with each other or on Taiwan to display symbols of the Republic of China’s sovereignty.
However, it says these appeals should not be “construed as entailing restoration of diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan) or altering the United States Government’s position on Taiwan’s international status.”
No similar disclaimer is found in the House bill.
In another key area of the bills, involving incentives for the production of semiconductors in the US, the two bills offer similar language, but the House bill has been described as more aggressive in creating a new Supply Chain Resilience Program.
Overseas suppliers, such as Taiwan semiconductor giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, have lobbied for foreign manufacturers to benefit from the measure, but it was not immediately clear if the two bills differed on this point.
DWINDLING CLIENTELE: Tientienle, which closed its doors on June 1, would automatically lose its license if it does not resume business on July 1 The nation’s last legal brothel has closed its doors, partly due to the effects of the COVID-19 oubreak, in what could mean an end to licensed brothels in the country, local police said yesterday. Taoyuan-based Tientienle (天天樂) in March reported to police that it would close its doors on Wednesday last week, but has not applied to cancel its license, police said. If the owner of the brothel does not resume operations by July 1, the license would be automatically revoked in accordance with regulations, police said. The COVID-19 pandemic decimated business at the brothel, which saw a steady decline in clients over
TRAVEL EASING: Border controls might be relaxed before August, but priority would be given to business travelers, not tourists in the near term, the CECC said Daily new cases of COVID-19 might fall below 10,000 by the end of the month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported 82,973 new local cases and 124 deaths. Yesterday’s domestic cases represented a sharp rise from Monday’s 52,992, but that could be attributed in part to the holiday effect, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the CECC, adding that the average number of cases over the four-day Dragon Boat Festival long weekend would be about 66,000. May 12 was the first time the daily caseload surpassed 60,000, he said, adding that, hopefully,
A woman has been charged after allegedly stabbing her son and hitting him in the head with a fire extinguisher because he refused to go school. Taichung prosecutors on Monday last week charged the woman, surnamed Liu (劉), with assault and endangering the life of a minor under the Protection of Children and Youths Welfare and Rights Act (兒童及少年福利與權益保障法). Prosecutors said Liu and her 10-year-old son, a fourth-grader, often quarreled over the son’s refusal to go to school. On Oct. 1 last year, while confronting him again because he did not want to go to school, Liu allegedly grabbed her son by the
THREAT FROM CHINA: To counter potential aggression by China or Russia, 67% in Japan and 77% in South Korea said that their nations should work with Washington A survey conducted by Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun and South Korea’s Hankook Ilbo showed that 73 percent of respondents believe China might take military action against Taiwan. The survey, which was released on Thursday, also asked about the relationship between Japan and South Korea, with 31 percent of respondents in Japan saying the relationship would improve, up from 14 percent last year, while 53 percent of respondents in South Korea thought the same, up from 29 percent last year. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol’s People Power Party has said it wants to mend the South Korea-Japan relationship. Although the percentage of respondents who expect


Shop Sephari